‘Wolfhounds’ continue tradition with Japanese orphanage

| September 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
U.S. Army Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force work together with children of the Holy Family Home for area beautification at the orphanage in Osaka, Japan, Sept. 10. The relationship between the ÒWolfhoundsÓ and the orphanage has been ongoing for 59 years. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Patrick Kirby, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Soldiers from 2-27th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, and a member of the JGSDF work together with children of the Holy Family Home for area beautification at the orphanage in Osaka, Japan, Sept. 10.

 

Story and photos by Spc. Patrick Kirby
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

OSAKA, Japan — The sounds of children’s laughter echoed as Soldiers spent time with orphans at the Holy Family Home, here, Sept. 10.

Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment, “Wolfhounds,” 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, continued their six-decade-long tradition supporting the orphanage.

During September, the Wolfhounds were in Japan participating in Orient Shield 2016 with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and used their time in country to pay a visit to the children.

“Every year, summertime and wintertime, we have an interaction with the Holy Family Home orphanage,” said Capt. Joseph Simmons, intelligence officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-27th Inf. Regt.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brett Lenoble, a team leader from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment ÒWolfhounds,Ó 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division plays with a child from the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan, Sept. 10. The relationship between the Wolfhounds and the orphanage has been ongoing for 59 years. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Patrick Kirby, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Wolfhound Staff Sgt. Brett Lenoble, team leader, Bravo Company, 2-27th Infantry Regiment plays with a child at the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan, Sept. 10.

The command team of the 2-27th Inf. Regt. made it a priority to visit the children with their troops.

“While we are here in Japan, we were able to schedule a day to come visit the orphanage and get to play and interact with them, as well as getting to do some area beautification,” Simmons said. “It really feels great to be able to help out like this.”

No language barrier divided the American Soldiers and Japanese children, as the smiling faces and hugs could be understood by all.

“The kids were absolutely happy to see us,” Simmons said. “There (were) roughly about 51 Wolfhounds and 130 kids overall, jumping around and excited.”

Following the end of World War II, the Holy Family Home was established to house orphans.

On Christmas Day in 1949, Master Sgt. Hugh O’Reilly led roughly a dozen Soldiers from the 27th Inf. Regt. to dedicate their spare time with the children.

O’Reilly, upon seeing the deplorable conditions, rallied his fellow Wolfhounds to donate part of their pay to support the orphanage on their next payday, New Year’s Day.

U.S. Army Chaplain Maj. Scott Kennaugh, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division plays soccer with two children from the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan, to maintain strong bonds with the children at the orphanage Sept. 10. The relationship between the ÒWolfhoundsÓ and the orphanage has been ongoing for 59 years. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Patrick Kirby, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Kennaugh, plays soccer with two children from the Holy Family Home orphanage.

After fighting in Korea, the Wolfhounds redeployed to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Rather than forgetting about the children of the Holy Family Home, they continued their support through the years.

The regiment hosts several orphans each summer for an authentic Hawaiian experience and sends several Soldiers to the orphanage each Christmas to deliver presents.

“In wintertime, we have two Wolfhounds, one from 1-27th and one from 2-27th, come to the orphanage with gifts,” Simmons said.

One of the Wolfhounds visiting the orphanage, 1st Lt. Paul Weiss, intelligence officer, HHC, 2-27th Inf. Regt., hosted two of the children at his home this past August as part of the summer exchange.

“Getting to visit the orphanage that the Wolfhounds have such a long history supporting on its own was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Weiss said.

Weiss, as the rest of the Wolfhounds, had to bid a reluctant, tearful farewell to their hosts and the children.

“Leaving at the end of the day was the hardest part,” said Weiss. “As a parent, saying goodbye was almost as hard to do as saying goodbye to my own children prior to deployments, regardless of length.”

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